Government introduces Environment Bill

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
The Bill includes measures set out to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habits so plants and wildlife can thrive.

The Government has introduced its long-awaited Environment Bill to Parliament.

The Bill includes measures set out to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habits so plants and wildlife can thrive.

It will also create legally binding-environmental targets and a new independent Office for Environmental Protection, based in Bristol, which will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take action against public bodies where necessary.

The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Announced in yesterday’s Queen’s speech, the Bill will introduce measures to make sure producers take responsibility for the waste they create, develop a consistent approach to recycling and roll out a bottle deposit return scheme.

It will aim reduce waste in the long term and create incentives for the reuse of material, helping to move towards a more circular economy.

New approaches to tackling waste crime and litter enforcement will also be considered.

Theresa Villiers, environment secretary, said: “Our landmark Environment Bill leads a green transformation that will help our country to thrive. It positions the UK as a world leader on improving air quality, environmental biodiversity, a more circular economy, and managing our precious water resources in a changing climate.

“Crucially, it also ensures that after Brexit, environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government, both now and in the future.”

Government hopes that introducing charges to some single-use items, announced last year, will help to reduce plastic pollution.

Despite it only applying to England, more than half of the Bill’s measures are designed to apply across the UK with the consent of devolved administrations.

It puts the 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing, meaning it will eventually be written into an Act of Parliament.


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